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Hardwire Wifi devices with Ethernet

Google Nest Wifi Pro, Nest Wifi routers and Google Wifi are Wi-Fi systems that are typically set up as a wireless mesh network to provide whole-home coverage. However, if you prefer to hardwire your mesh system together, these devices have Ethernet ports that let you physically connect your devices together. Here are some possible setups that you can do:

  • Chain multiple routers together.
  • Connect devices like a computer or TV directly into the LAN port of your router.
    Note: for a mesh point, either the WAN or LAN port can be used as a LAN port. Use a switch to add more LAN ports to hardwire your Wifi devices.
  • Use third-party routers in addition to your Nest or Google Wifi network.

Things to avoid:

  • Don't connect any devices including computers, switches or another Wifi point to your primary Wifi device that's plugged into your modem, until after setup has been completed.
  • Nest Wifi routers can't be configured with OnHub devices in a mesh network.
  • Nest Wifi points don't have Ethernet ports and can't be hardwired.
  • Nest Wifi Pro (Wi-Fi 6E) can't be combined with Nest Wifi or Google Wifi (Wi-Fi 5) in a mesh network. 
  • Don't include more than five routers or points in a mesh network. Adding more might be detrimental to Wi-Fi performance.

Key terms for hardwiring your network

The supported setups below use the following terms:

  • Wifi router: Commonly refers to the Nest Wifi Pro, Nest Wifi or Google Wifi device that's connected to the modem. Router is also used for Wifi devices that have Ethernet ports.
  • Point: A point or points refer to any Nest Wifi Pro, Nest Wifi or Google Wifi device that's added to the main router as part of your mesh network to extend coverage. Nest Wifi points don't have Ethernet points and can't be hardwired. Learn more about compatibility for Nest Wifi and Google Wifi products.
  • Switch: A switch is a networking device that connects devices, like computers, printers and services, to each other, typically over Ethernet ports. Having a switch can allow you to expand your networking system with additional Ethernet ports, which enables you to hardwire more devices to your network.
  • Third-party router: This refers to a router provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or one you own that isn't a Nest Wifi or Google Wifi product. In some cases, rather than using a switch, you can use an old router to provide additional ports to your network. Before you use your old Wi-Fi router as a switch, turn off any built-in Wi-Fi in the third-party router.
  • Ethernet cable: To hardwire your devices, you'll need to connect each device together with Ethernet cables. It's recommended that you use a minimum of CAT5e-rated cables for Nest Wifi Pro, Nest Wifi and Google Wifi use.
  • WAN port : This is the outbound port that connects your main router to the Internet. It is wired towards your modem.
  • LAN port : This is the inbound port that goes towards your wired devices.

Compatibility

Wifi device Works as a Wifi router Works as point Can be combined with
Nest Wifi Pro Router Yes Yes

Nest Wifi Pro router only

Nest Wifi router Yes Yes Nest Wifi router, Nest Wifi point,
Google Wifi point
Nest Wifi point No Yes, wireless only Nest Wifi router, Nest Wifi point,
Google Wifi point
Google Wifi point Yes Yes Nest Wifi router, Nest Wifi point,
Google Wifi point

Supported setups

Use multiple Nest Wifi routers or Google Wifi points

 Note: In the following diagrams, '' means to connect via wired Ethernet. See above for the list of terms.

() Modem → Wifi router → Point

  1. Modem's LAN port connects to Wifi router's WAN port  over wired Ethernet.
  2. Wifi router's LAN port connects to a point's WAN port over wired Ethernet.

You can chain multiple points over wired Ethernet.

() Modem → Wifi router → Point → Additional point → and so on.

Include a switch downstream of the Wifi router

Find out more about using switches with Google Nest Wifi or Google Wifi devices

 Note: In the following diagrams, '' means to connect via wired Ethernet. See above for the list of terms.

() Modem → Wifi router → Switch → Point(s)

  1. Modem's LAN port connects to Wifi router's WAN port  over wired Ethernet.
  2. Wifi router's LAN port connects to switch's WAN or uplink port over wired Ethernet.
  3. Switch's LAN port(s) connects to any point's LAN port over wired Ethernet.

Switches and points can be connected in any order, as long as they're downstream of the Wifi router, and you may connect several of these devices over wired Ethernet. It's important to connect downstream as it allows the Wifi router to manage the downstream points over the wired Ethernet.

Note: Don't connect points that aren't set up yet to a switch. Only connect your points to a switch once they're ready for setup.

() Modem → Wifi router → Switch → Point → Additional point

() Modem → Wifi router → Point → Switch → Point → Additional point

Include a third-party router upstream of the primary Wifi point (not recommended)

Tip: Instead of buying a new switch, it might be possible to use a third-party router as a switch. To do this, set the third-party router in bridge mode and disable its Wi-Fi functions. Refer to the third-party router manual on how to do this. 

 Note: In the following diagram, '' means to connect via wired Ethernet. See above for the list of terms.

() Modem → Third-party router → Wifi router → Point

  1. Modem's LAN port connects to third-party router's WAN port over wired Ethernet.
  2. Third-party router's LAN port connects to the Wifi router's WAN port over wired Ethernet.
  3. Wifi router's LAN port connects to any point's WAN port over wired Ethernet, or a switch as shown above.

With this configuration, you might run into Double NAT, which isn't necessarily a problem. But if it's causing problems, it's recommended that you put your third-party router in bridge mode. Once in bridge mode, you may choose whether or not to turn Wi-Fi off on your third-party router.

Setups to avoid

Wire a Wifi router to other points in the same switch

 Note: In the following diagrams, '' means to connect via wired Ethernet. See above for the list of terms.

(X) Modem → Switch → Wifi router

                                       → Point

(X) Modem → Third-party router → Switch → Wifi router

                                                                             → Point

  1. Modem's LAN port connects to Switch's WAN or uplink port over wired Ethernet.
  2. Switch's LAN ports connect to both a Wifi router and another point.

To work as a mesh point, the point should always be wired downstream from the Wifi router. In the diagrams above, the mesh won't work because the point is unable to get an IP address from the Wifi router. Rather, both the Wifi router and point get IP addresses from the upstream modem, so the Wifi router isn't able to form the mesh with the Wifi point.

For correct operation, the Wifi router should either be plugged in between the modem and the switch, or the point should be plugged in downstream of the Wifi router.

() Modem → Wifi router → Switch → Point

() Modem → Switch → Wifi router → Point

Wire Wifi routers or points into the same third-party router

 Note: In the following diagrams, '' means to connect via wired Ethernet. See above for the list of terms.

(X) Modem → Third-party router → Wifi router

                                                           → Point

  1. Modem's LAN port connects to third-party router's WAN port over wired Ethernet.

  2. Third-party router's LAN ports connect to both a Wifi router and another point's WAN ports over wired Ethernet.

In this example, the point should be plugged in downstream of the Wifi router instead.

() Modem → Third-party router → Wifi router → Point

Wire a third-party router downstream of the Wifi router

 Note: In the following diagrams, '' means to connect via wired Ethernet. See above for the list of terms.

(X) Modem → Wifi router → Third-party router → Point

  1. Modem's LAN port connects to Wifi router's WAN port over wired Ethernet.
  2. Wifi router's LAN port connects to third-party router's WAN port over wired Ethernet.
  3. Third-party router's LAN port connects to Google Wifi point's WAN port over wired Ethernet.

If the third-party router isn't in bridge mode (then NAT is still active), any wired or wireless clients including the mesh points might not be able to communicate with the Wifi router as the third-party router NAT will create a separate subnet.

To work as desired, the third-party router should be set to bridge mode, replaced with a switch or removed from the network.

() Modem → Wifi router → Point

() Modem → Wifi router → Switch → Point

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